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Jane Tran has always believed there is strength in numbers. Throughout her career, this chef/ entrepreneur has been drawn to collaborating with others in the food industry. Now, given the COVID-19 pandemic, coming together has been both a natural and essential way to weather the crisis.

As one of the anchors of the 852 Curbside Collective, RBC client Jane Tran saw an opportunity to keep her business going while supporting other local owners by banding together. She is the owner of Chau – a modern Asian pop-up restaurant. Together with Meaghan Bowden of Phancy Food & Catering and Emily De Beus of Sausage Party Toronto, the three entrepreneurs formed the collective as a way of offering natural, healthy foods to their community.

Sharing a small space on King Street West in downtown Toronto, the three women have partnered with at least seven other businesses to sell prepared meals, fresh produce, perogies and Survival Boxes – a pre-packaged collection of 3 dinners, 1 lunch, 1 snack and 1 dessert. They are also selling handmade face masks, and will donate one to a front-line worker for every mask purchased.

Having known each other from operating at farmers markets, catering events and festivals, the 10+ businesses previously had their own clientele, their own spaces and their own kitchens. Since the pandemic hit, they are sharing space and selling their offerings through the same channel to the same audience.

“Since Toronto was hit by the coronavirus, business decreased so we condensed our physical space, “ explains Bowden. “Now there are over ten businesses operating out of the same location.”

As the anchors of the collective, Tran, Bowden and De Beus do the pre-packaged options, back-room organization and box preparation while the others drop off their product.

“There is a lot of strength in numbers,” says Tran.” We are lucky we have a physical location right on King Street. We wanted to use this space not only to help ourselves pull through but to help other people in our community.”

And they are making it safe and easy, with contactless drop-offs, curbside pick-up, a shop doorbell (so customers don’t need to touch/ open the door) and the ability to order via the Ritual app, 30 minutes in advance. “People can be in and out in 5 minutes,” says Bowden.

852 Curbside Collective is an example of how Canadians can come together, even as we stay apart. Watch their spirited story of collaboration and support – for each other, and the Toronto community.

RBC clients across the country have been stepping up to face the COVID-19 crisis with courage, generosity and compassion. Discover other stories of how clients are making a meaningful difference during this difficult time. #RandomActsofCanadian.

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